Loyola Marymount University’s Hannon Field will be transformed into the Once Upon a Time Fair and silent auction April 25 to benefit LMU’s Children’s Center. The fair and auction will be a first for the center, which celebrates its sixth year on the university’s campus.
The fair will commemorate the success of the center and raise funds. The proceeds will support programs and professional development, such as staff training. Ani Shabazian, director of the center, describes the three principles of the center’s program as “continuity of care, primary care and small group sizes.” She goes on to explain, “we strive to provide customized, not standard care; to not just meet the basic needs but to reach for providing extraordinary care on a daily basis.”
The center cares for and educates children ranging from 6 weeks to 5 years old. Currently, there are 115 families registered. Of those, 60 percent are children of LMU students, faculty and staff; alumni and community members evenly compose the remaining 40 percent. Shabazian takes pride in the program’s success at providing a fluid transition between home and school environments through its facilities and care. “Children are exposed to real, natural furniture and toys – nothing battery operated, the rooms are very homey, and we avoid using plastic materials and furniture,” Shabazian said.
Staff facilitates the children’s development of critical thinking skills and learning cause and effect through experience rather than memorization. “We want to help give them a rich childhood. It’s not just ABC’s – that’s part of it, but we want to offer a safe place for them to grow,” said Shabazian. The center recently implemented three new programs: gymnastics, swimming and music, in addition to the daily curriculums.
Shabazian hopes that with additional funding the staff can receive further training to better implement the center’s mission to offer exceptional care for each and every child. “The number one important element in child care is relationships and trust,” said Shabazian. “We want to give them confidence and to know that they are individually unique and special.”
For more information about LMU Children’s Center and to buy tickets for the fair, contact LMUCC at 310.258.8900.